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The Week In Review (Week of April 25)

Harvey & Ventrano reports that "two members of Villanova's 2009 FCS national championship team have signed free-agent contracts with NFL clubs. Wide receiver Brandyn Harvey is headed to Atlanta, where former Villanova wideout Brian Finneran is still playing after breaking in with the Eagles in 1999. Defensive back Ross Ventrone is going to New England. His brother, Ray, also a former Wildcats defensive back, originally signed with the Patriots and now is with Cleveland."

BEast Georgetown Syracuse BasketballSyracuse Coach Jim Boeheim sounded off in support of the the Big East Conference in an article published by The New York Times. That article claims that "the Big East could lose multiple teams to the Big Ten, drawn by a conference football television payout that is triple the Big East’s $7 million. The Big East was founded on basketball, and its current 16-team conglomeration is considered by many to be the premier basketball conference in the country. But in terms of television dollars and the future of its teams, that cachet matters little. ESPN senior vice president Burke Magnus said that in terms of television viewership, football has "definitely become the driver."

"That disappoints Syracuse Coach Boeheim, a Big East loyalist who began coaching the Orange before the Big East formed in 1979. "Boston College is in the A.C.C., and no one cares about them there," Boeheim said of the former Big East program that joined the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2005. "I don’t think we’ll do well in the Big Ten. I just don’t see how Syracuse or Rutgers fits in with Iowa and Illinois." Boeheim said that players in recruiting hotbeds like New York, Philadelphia and Washington, the lifeblood markets for Big East universities, probably would not find playing in a Midwest-dominated league appealing. But someone with a big ego in a football conference is taking over. I just don’t think it helps recruiting to be in the Big Ten."

Niagara Villanova BasketballScott Michael Leddy of Bleacher Report writes “Although Nova has lost their leading scorer in Scottie Reynolds, and an experienced team leader in Reggie Redding, they feel they will have the tools to compete. They have a rising star in Corey Fisher, who will be expected to produce even more than the 13.3 ppg he posted in the 2010 season and step into the spotlight.  It’s up to coach Jay Wright to make sure he is ready to be the team’s go-to guy. It’s also up to Wright to make sure ex-Dukie Taylor King rebounds after a disappointing personal season and actually get some rebounds in 2011. And that the young Maalik Wayns, Dominic Cheeks, and Mouphatou Yarou can become more productive and play to their abilities. And how could we forget the diaper dandies? In small forward James Bell, rated as the No. 9 small forward in the nation, Nova gets an explosive, albeit undersized, wing who will be a scoring threat from all over the court. Joining him on the freshman squad will by New York product JayVaughn Pinkston, an inside bruiser. ‘Nova’s trainers will look to put some more meat and muscle on his 6’6” frame.” [Editor's Note:  Have Corey Stokes and Antonio Pena become the Rodney Dangerfields of this team?]

Bell DecemberBleacher Report also published its Top 25 college basketball 2010 recruiting classes.  One through five on BR’s list are are Memphis, Ohio State, North Carolina, Michigan State and Kentucky.  Villanova is ranked #22, with this commentary: “Villanova Jay Wright has assembled a very talented class that is gaining the recognition nationally it might otherwise deserve.   James Bell, SF, 6'5", 220, is a big-time talented wingman is a lethal spot-up shooter, and while not as accurate on the run, he plays above the rim in transition.  Jayvaughn Pinkston, PF, 6'7", 225,  is one of my favorite prospects in the entire 2010 class. He can score anywhere on the floor with a smooth touch beyond the arc and an arsenal of moves in the paint.  BR’s information is a bit stale, however, as they include Markus Kennedy, C, 6'10", 265, a big-bodied post player gives Wright some big-time bulk to add to a relatively thin frontcourt.”  Other Big East teams on the list are Georgetown (#24), Marquette (#19), Connecticut (#14) and Syracuse (#6).  

Frances KoonsThe Philadelphia Daily News  reports that former Villanova track star, Frances Koons won the 5000 at the Penn Relays. "Koons already has earned her degree in mathematics and is now pursuing a master's in applied statistics."

Jay SuitWell, bracketology officially has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous.  College  ran a March madness competition among sixty-four of the best-dressed college coaches to determine the best dressed coach in the land.  Jay Wright entered the competition seeded #1 in the eastern bracket.  Jay easily advanced to the second round with a win over #16-seeded John Giannini (La Salle) but,  like this year's Nova team, he was upset in the second round.  Jay lost to #13 seed Robbie Laing  (Campbell University, NC). "Laing couldn’t run the table, though. He lost to the eventual champion, Drexel’s Bruiser Flint (pictured to Jay's right).  It was the third such title for Flint, who beat out Pepperdine’s Tom Asbury in the final."  [Editor's Note:  You were robbed, Jay!  You're still best dressed in our book! ] reports Villanova coach "Jay Wright" is not interested in the Sixers head coaching job at this time, according to  Wright has often said that he would only go to the NBA if it was his last job, because he knows he'll get fired at some point."

Pinckney MinnesotaThe reports “Don’t be surprised if new Iowa State men’s basketball coach Fred Hoiberg, the former Timberwolves assistant GM, pursues former Wolves assistant Ed Pinckney as an assistant for the Cyclones. Pinckney was an assistant coach at Villanova from 2003 through 2007 for Jay Wright before taking an assistant’s job with the Timberwolves.” [Editor's Note:  I would love to see Jay bring "Easy Ed" back.  With all Nova's young big men, it would be great to have a member of the coaching staff who knows the big man game.]

szczurThe Villanovan  reports that Matt Szczur was named Villanova’s Athlete of the Year.  “Szczur was the spark plug behind Villanova’s 2009 national title season. He was named the Colonial Athletic Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and Special Teams Player of the Year before winning Most Valuable Player of the title game. “There isn’t a better player in college football,” Talley said. "

"Last November, Szczur learned that he was a match to donate bone marrow to a 1-year old girl with leukemia.  Szczur was initially willing to sit out some of the football season in order to donate, though that did not prove necessary.  Either way, he is fully on board to donate. “I’ll never be able to accomplish something like that on the football field,” Szczur said.”

“Szczur entered college as purely a pro baseball prospect. With his success last season on the football field, he now appears to have the option to play professionally. On June 7, Szczur figures to be selected again in the MLB draft, but this time his selection will most likely be higher and be for more money. “Szczur has a chance to be a major league outfielder,” one MLB scout said. “His speed stands out.” Although Szczur has a price in mind that he would need to get in order to sign a contract, he also has a strong connection to his football team and the sport, which complicates things.”

AM reports that “Michael Gilchrist’s commitment to Kentucky was no surprise at all. He was always going to play for Calipari, and everybody knew it. Villanova kept recruiting him, but only because Jay Wright thought he might be able to get him only if Cal left for the NBA."  reports that former Nova basketball star, "Barry Bekkedam is one of America's bubble boys.  He rode the rise in asset values to incredible success and totally blew up when the crash hit. Bekkedam, 43, has not sold his company, Ballamor, which he founded in 1997 and expanded quickly to a peak of $3 billion in assets under. In its latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing, dated March 31, the company claimed $1.67 billion assets under management. One client, a medical-malpractice insurer on Long Island, accounted for about $1 billion, said Bekkedam, who is a native of Ontario, Canada.   Bekkedam, who is named as a defendant in the civil lawsuit, allegedly enticed Von Allmen into putting about $100 million into the Ponzi scheme."

The Setonian report that "at 8 percent, Seton Hall has one of the lowest alumni giving rates among Big East colleges and universities. Other Big East schools, according to the ad, have much higher alumni giving rates. Notre Dame reports 50 percent, Providence reports 26 percent, Villanova reports 19 percent and Rutgers reports 15 percent." [Editor's Note: with a 19% alumni giving rate, Villanova will not be building any new athletic facilities any time soon.  At 50%, it is palpable why Notre Dame has such outstanding facilities.]